Bernard Rands



Cleveland Chamber Symphony


Edwin London, Music Director












Bernard Rands (b. 1934)


Bernard Rands was born in Sheffield, England. He received Bachelors and Masters degrees in music from the University of Wales. Later, while living in Italy he was a pupil of Roman Vlad and Luigi Dallapiccola. In the 1960's he studied composition and conducting with Bruno Maderna and Pierre Boulez in Germany and with Luciano Berio in Italy. He counts Berio as an especially important influence on his own work. He served as composer-in-residence with universities in the U.S. and England and taught at York University in England. He has received a number of grants and prizes, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1982-83. He became an American citizen in 1983 and is married to the composer, Augusta Read Thomas. He is especially known for his vocal music, and in 1984 he won the Pulitzer Prize in music for his Canti del Sole (Sun Songs). A companion cycle to that work is Canti Lunatici, to texts about the moon and Canti Dell 'Eclissi whose chamber version was commissioned by Cleveland Chamber Symphony, who also performed the world premiere in April, 1993.


The composer writes:


This recording is of particular significance for me for two reasons. First, it marks one of many happy collaborations I have enjoyed with the composer/conductor Edwin London and, through him, with the fine musicians of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. It also, in the selection of works, reflects an important, almost 40 year friendship I cherish with Luciano Berio, my former teacher and early mentor.


The premiere performance of Metalepsis II (1971) was conducted by Berio. Madrigali (after Monteverdi/Berio) composed in 1977 refers constantly to Berio's fine transcription of Monteverdi's Il Combattimento at the same time as it relates many aspects of his own original music to that of his Italian predecessor. Triple concerto (1998) carries the dedication “to Luciano Berio with love and gratitiude.”




Sometimes works are written which seem to lie outside the general stylistic character with which their authors are usually identified. The reason is that composers, in addition to dealing with the state of music in their own time, are often fascinated by the state music was in at some former time. As they are participants in the new developments now, they recognize and identify with those original and vanguard achievements of predecessors. Madrigali for Chamber Orchestra is the result of such a situation, being at once an homage to the genius of Claudio Monteverdi, sixteenth and seventeenth century musician, and an acknowledgement of the universal and continuing relevance of his achievements.


All the materials used in the five short movements of Madrigali are derived from or based upon the musical characteristics found in Monteverdi's Eighth Book of Madrigals, where a set of “Canti di Guerrieri” is paralleled by a set of “Canti di Amorosi” — the former set culminating in “Il Combattimento,” the latter in “Il Ballo.”


The essence of Monteverdi's melodic, harmonic, monodic, polyphonic, gestural and instrumental features are here placed in new contexts and juxtapositions. Although the movements are separate, they do (like the original set of madrigals) have anticipations and echoes of each other. In particular, allusions are frequently made to the famous madrigal “Amor Lamento della Ninfa,” which appears in its entirety in the final movement. Conceived as an imaginary ballet, Madrigali refers constantly to Luciano Berio's transcription of ”Il Combattimento” at the same time as it relates many aspects of his own original music to that of his Italian predecessor.


It should be understood that, except for Amor, the original madrigals are not quoted but provide a model for an analogous musical language.


Madrigali, commissioned by and written for the National Symphony Chamber Orchestra, was completed in 1977 and premiered in the same year at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.


— Bernard Rands




Metalepsis II


Central to this work is a short text from Wildtrack, a long poem by the English poet and novelist John Wain. The passage is subtitled “Hymn to Steel: for 5 million human voices.




Great cutting edge,


indifferent to tissue


Great stamping mass,


indifferent to the cry of crushed bones,


Grant us your hardness:


We would be as prompt to suffer


As you to inflict our suffering!


Light flashes out


from your whirling blades


Heads bow to the earth


before your harvesting:


Heads of grain, heads of men and women.


Grant us your hardness and bright surface.


Be with us in the hour of our processing.


In you is our strength


therefore destroy us


From you we have the unanswerable word


that we have become our own enemies


if our enemies live we must surely perish


therefore destroy us.


Bite through the soft tendons of our children


Bite through the dried flesh of our elders:


Drink the strength of our men


the fertility of our women


and stamp all tears into the mud.


This we ask


in the sacred name


the surgical, liturgical name


(ever to be praised by the dazed


ever to be acclaimed by the maimed


unceasingly to be said by the dead)










The whole poem Wildtrack deals with the subject of tyranny as symbolized in the lives and work of Joseph Stalin and Henry Ford. The composer chose to extend this by surrounding the Wain text with quotations from Chairman Mao, the Pope and passages from the Latin Mass.


In short, Metalepsis II is the cry of the human spirit against tyrannies. Sometimes the cry is forceful and sustained (met by the fiercest opposition instrumentally), sometimes plaintive and pathetic, sometimes unified, sometimes divided, sometimes resigned, but always a human cry.


The principal technique used is that of repetition (symbolizing the processing of the human condition). All the texts say virtually the same thing in different languages. This repetition dominates the musical material and is analogous to the repetition used to make creeds credible.


Metalepsis II is a non-denominational Requiem Mass for all who suffer at the hands of tyrants — political, religious and commercial.


Commissioned by the 1971 English Bach Festival it was first performed in London by the London Sinfonietta, with Cathy Berberian (mezzo soprano) conducted by Berio. Since then it has been performed and broadcast in many countries. The composer has since written: “I find it bitterly ironic that I should have written on the manuscripti in 1971 — a Bruno Maderna, con amicizia.” Bruno Maderna died in 1973.


© A.M.C.




Triple Concerto


The composer writes that the title, Triple Concerto, refers not only to the role of the three soloists (cello, piano and percussion), but also to that of the orchestra, which is divided into three ensembles, and to the specific relationship of each of the soloists to each of the ensembles.


The three ensembles are grouped around the soloists. On the left side, Ensemble I consists of two flutes, two clarinets, horn, three violins, viola and cello. In the center, Ensemble II has harp, percussion, three violins, viola, cello and double bass. On the right side, Ensemble III consists of oboe, bassoon, horn, two trumpets, trombone, three violins, viola and cello. The work begins with an extended trio exposition of the musical materials by the three soloists, each of whom then gradually becomes identified with one of the ensembles — the cello with Ensemble III, the piano with Ensemble I and the percussion with Ensemble II. Thus, says the composer, “three simultaneous `concerti' are in progress.” The pairing of soloists and ensembles changes, and “composite” ensembles emerge, e.g. all winds, all strings, etc, as the opening trio material is developed and transformed.


The piece, here receiving its world premiere, is about 20 minutes in length. It was commissioned by the Core Ensemble with funds provided by the Meet the Composer Consortium Commission Program. It is dedicated to Luciano Berio.


THECore Ensemble


The Core Ensemble consists of cellist Andrew Mark, pianist Hugh Hinton and percussionist Michael Parola. The group was formed in 1993 and has embarked on an ambitious program of commissioning new works for its unusual combination of instruments. One of those commissions is the Rands Triple Concerto here receiving its world premiere. The group has toured and concertized widely and has done residencies at a number of colleges and universities. In 1995 the group received a three-year grant for a residency at Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth, Florida. It was also in residence in 1995 and 1996 for new music festivals at the Boston Conservatory.


Andrew Mark


Cellist Andrew Mark is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music. His teachers have included Bernard Greenhouse, Laurence Lesser and George Neikrug. He has performed with the Boston Symphony and the Harvard Chamber Orchestra. He is now chairman of the string department at the Boston Conservatory.


Hugh Hinton


Pianist Hugh Hinton is a native of Atlanta who holds degrees from Harvard and the New England Conservatory. Among his teachers was pianist Russell Sherman. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the orchestras of Boston, Dallas and New Orleans and has been a prize-winner in several piano competitions. He is also currently instructor in piano at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass.


Michael Parola


Percussionist Michael Parola holds degrees from the State University of New York at Purchase and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was a founding member of the Aequalis Ensemble in 1984 and toured nationally with that group, performing in hundreds of concerts. He has personally commissioned many new works for percussion. He teaches percussion at the Harid Conservatory and at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.


Edwin London


Edwin London, music director of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, has served living music throughout his distinguished career. He has formed two highly acclaimed ensembles: Ineluctable Modality, a new music choral ensemble, in 1968, and the award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 1980. He has earned the Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center, the ASCAP-John S. Edwards Award and the Laurel Leaf Award from the American Composers Alliance.


Born in Philadelphia in 1929, London began his career as a horn player in both symphony orchestras and the Oscar Pettiford Jazz Band. After graduation from the Oberlin Conservatory, he received a doctorate from the University of Iowa. Subsequent teachers have included Luigi Dallapiccola, Darius Milhaud and Gunther Schuller. He taught at Smith College, the University of Illinois and the University of California at San Diego before becoming a professor at Cleveland State University in 1978.


Cleveland Chamber Symphony


The Cleveland Chamber Symphony is the professional ensemble-in-residence at Cleveland State University whose mission is to present new American music. Since its founding in 1980 by Edwin London, the orchestra has performed the world premieres of 146 works, 85 of which were commissioned by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony has received repeated national recognition for its strong commitment to new American music including the coveted John S. Edwards award three times. It has also received the American Music Center Letter of Distinction and nine ASCAP awards for adventuresome programming of Contemporary Music.


Recording Engineers: John Charlillo (Madrigali); Bruce Gigax (Triple Concerto); Rex Anderson (Metalepsis) with John Charlillo




Cleveland Chamber Symphony


Edwin London, Music Director






1. I. for Dominic Muldowney (4:21)


2. II. for Jonty Harrison (4:30)


3. III. for Vivienne Olive (3:22)


4. IV. for Vic Hoyland (3:38)


5. V. for Roger Marsh (4:58)


6. Metalepsis II (18:54)


Rickie Weiner, mezzo soprano


The Ineluctable Modality


7. Triple Concerto


for Cello, Piano, Percussion &Chamber Ensemble (22:34)


The Core Ensemble